Budokan: The Martial Spirit

Year: 1990
Platform: Amiga, Genesis
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Fighting
Rating: ***

The ultimate martial arts simulator. I hesitate to call it a fighting game, because it really is a martial arts simulator. Unfortunately, like most martial arts, it takes a LONG time to learn and excel at it due to an overly complicated control system. In the game, you can choose to train in four different dojos that specialize in karate, kenpo, nunchaku, and bo combat. You can also choose to spar with a computer partner to practice your skills and ask the wise sensei for advice before heading off to the Budokan martial arts tournament. At the tournament, you face a series opponents that each specialize in a different martial art. The graphics are great and a lot of work was put into the game to realistically emulate the different combat forms. Unfortunately, the controls are really difficult and it requires way too much time, patience, and practice to be any fun. "Budokan" is not just a game - it's a way of life.

The Genesis version is a faithful port of the Amiga game, only the controls are even MORE obscure and harder to master. Easy to appreciate, but extremely difficult to enjoy.